Ecclesiastes Podcast

Romans 7:21-23

The Apostle Paul writes to the world-renowned believers in Rome, the center of the world at that time, in order to answer a slanderous charge made to them against Paul and his message. Paul’s detractors claim his emphasis on faith overturns the law. Paul says that ” just living by the law” does not achieve personal justice before God, while “just living by faith” does. Paul then demonstrates what a just life looks like: harmonious living with Jesus as the leader. Paul also makes clear the choice a believer has: to walk in faith and the power of the resurrection and experience resurrection life, or walk in sin and unnecessarily experience the negative consequences.

Paul shows that while we are free from the law, there remains a true battle with sin that resides within us. The sin nature battles with the redeemed nature. The sin nature is so strong that only the power of Christ can deliver us from it.

This of course pulls the rug out from under the main point made by Paul’s opponents (the competing Jewish “authorities”). They have argued that the law is what brings us to righteousness. Paul’s counter is that the law actually shows us our sin, and it is the power of the Spirit of Jesus that delivers us from the power of sin in our daily walk.

Evil is present in us, even when we are redeemed. Sin’s desire is to hold us captive and obedient to it, acting through the sin nature within us.


 Paul values and agrees with the law and wants to do good because of his new spirit (v. 6) and yet he knows that evil is present in [him]. However, the sin nature that Paul has (which, Paul tells us, all humans have) wants to disobey the law. Paul points out that while he wants to follow the law of God and joyfully concurs with the law of God in the inner man, he sees a different law in the members of [his] body, waging war against the law of [his] mind and making [him] a prisoner of the law of sin which is in [his] members. The flesh holds Paul as a prisoner to its personal law and rules, the law of sin.


In verse 12 of chapter 6, Paul tells us that sin can take the control (reign) in our mortal bodies, but that believers should not let this happen because we are under grace and not the law. In verse 25, Paul tells us that it is through faith in Jesus that we can battle with sin, and that sin does not have to be our ruler.

Biblical Text

21 I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. 22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.